DRINK UP: From Coca-Cola and Pepsi to smaller regional players, beverage makers are investing in water conservation projects to guarantee long-term access to the most crucial ingredient in their products.

WIN-WIN-WIN: The projects let beverage companies market themselves as "green," give environmental groups much sought-after funding and let cash-strapped governments tackle projects they can't afford.

AWASH IN BUCKS: Experts believe more than $500 million has been invested in water conservation projects over the past five years.